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Italy and Spain to meet again at a European Championship

July 2, 2021 GMT
Italy's Nicolo Barella, left, and Italy's Marco Verratti celebrate scoring the opening goal during the Euro 2020 soccer championship quarterfinal match between Belgium and Italy at the Allianz Arena stadium in Munich, Germany, Friday, July 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, Pool)
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Italy's Nicolo Barella, left, and Italy's Marco Verratti celebrate scoring the opening goal during the Euro 2020 soccer championship quarterfinal match between Belgium and Italy at the Allianz Arena stadium in Munich, Germany, Friday, July 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, Pool)
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Italy's Nicolo Barella, left, and Italy's Marco Verratti celebrate scoring the opening goal during the Euro 2020 soccer championship quarterfinal match between Belgium and Italy at the Allianz Arena stadium in Munich, Germany, Friday, July 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, Pool)

LONDON (AP) — Italy and Spain are going to meet at the European Championship for the fourth tournament in a row, and this time a place in the final will be on the line.

The match is scheduled for Tuesday at Wembley Stadium in London.

FORM

The first Euro 2020 semifinal matchup was determined Friday after Italy beat top-ranked Belgium 2-1 in Munich and Spain defeated Switzerland in a penalty shootout in St. Petersburg.

Italy is Europe’s hottest team, extending its unbeaten run to 32 matches and its winning streak to 13 with Friday’s result. By contrast, Spain is on a 12-match unbeaten run and drew its opening two group matches.

GOAL THREAT

The match will be a face-off between the tournament’s top-scoring teams, as it stands. Spain has found the net 12 times after opening with a scoreless draw against Sweden, while Italy has 11 goals.

The goals have been shared throughout the teams with neither having a player who has scored more than two. Ciro Immobile, Matteo Pessina, Manuel Locatelli and Lorenzo Insigne have two each for Italy, and Pablo Sarabia, Ferran Torres and Alvaro Morata have the same amount for Spain.

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HISTORY

Their most recent meetings came in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. Italy’s loss and draw against Spain contributed to the team failing to qualify for the tournament for only the second time.

The last time either team reached a major tournament final was in 2012, when Spain beat Italy 4-0 to defend its European title.

Only two players from that match are in the lineups at Euro 2020. Spain still has midfielder Sergio Busquets, while Italy has veteran defenders Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini.

Italy prevented Spain from winning a third consecutive European Championship by beating the defending champions 2-0 in the round of 16 at Euro 2016.

The Spanish beat Italy on penalties in the Euro 2008 quarterfinals before ending their 44-year trophy drought.

COACHES

Spain coach Luis Enrique was playing for his country at the 1994 World Cup when his nose was broken in the quarterfinals by Italy defender Mauro Tassotti.

Italy went on to reach the final that year, losing to Brazil on penalties.

Italy coach Roberto Mancini wasn’t part of his country’s squad at the 1994 World Cup because he opted out of international duty after not being sure of playing time. His return to the Italian national team only came in 2018, when he was hired as coach.

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